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New: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Fiction Books

Wonderland book cover Kicking the Sky book coverThe Pink Suit book cover

     –  Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo

     –  Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa

     –  The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby

     –  The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

     –  Where the Earth Meets the Water by Pia Padukone

     –  I Pity the Poor Immigrant by Zachary Lazar

     –  All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

     –  The Bend of the World by Jacob Bacharach

New: Nonfiction Books

Cubed book coverLife Is a Wheel book cover A Sliver of Light book cover

     Cubed by Nikil Saval

     –  Life is a Wheel by Bruce Webber

     –  A Sliver of Light by Shane Bauer

     –  The Burning Shore by Ed Offley

     –  The Hiltons by Randy J. Taraborrelli

     –  Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

     –  Cathedral of the Wild by Boyd Varty

     –  The Mad Sculptor by Harold Schechter

By MPPL on June 27, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer book coverComic book artist Derf Backderf keeps eerily close to home in his exploration of the adolescence of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, his former high school classmate. This graphic novel is stark in its imagery, full of dread and foreboding. As the young Dahmer spirals further and further into depravity, the adults in his life, parents and educators alike, seem not to notice, too absorbed in their own troubles to notice the wolf at the door. While My Friend Dahmer is certainly a frightening read, it’s never gory, and it manages to show, without being sensationalistic, the making of a monster.

By MPPL on June 26, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: 1776 by David McCullough

1776 book cover

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.

 

Title: 1776
Author: David McCullough
Page Count: 386
Genre: Narrative nonfiction, History
Tone: Upbeat, Nostalgic

 

1.  Could King George III have done anything differently in 1776 to avoid war, or was it inevitable at that point?

2.  Did he underestimate the Americans? How so?

3.  What did you learn about George Washington from this book that surprised you? How much of what we know about Washington is a myth?

4.  How important was Washington’s role in American independence?

5.  How did Washington try to overcome his failings? Was he successful?

6.  Why did—and perhaps still do—people respond so positively to him?

7.  How has the reputation of Commander-in-Chief affected wars in our country since Washington’s time?

8.  Was Congress right in not having Washington attack Boston? Why do you think Washington wanted to attack, especially when nobody else thought it was a good idea?

9.  Washington was very concerned about his appearance. McCullogh writes: “And as with everything connected to that role—his uniform, the house, his horses and equipage, the military dress and the bearing of his staff—appearances were of great importance: a leader must look and act the part” (p. 42). How much of Washington’s ideas about appearance and presentation do you suppose was influenced by his living under a monarchy?

10.  What do you think about Washington later deciding to wear civilian (rather than military) clothes when acting as president? Does this reveal anything about his character, his beliefs, etc.? And how much do you think that decision influenced the American people’s view of the Office of the President?

11.  Washington was originally referred to as “His Excellency.” Do you think Americans today want their president to have an air of grandeur, or do they desire a more approachable “commoner” president? What are the pros and cons of both?

12.  What were some of the biggest differences between the warring armies, and how did they affect the battles?

13.  What about the American army surprised you? Were there any ways in which the inexperience of the American troops and their leaders were helpful to the cause?

14.  In what ways did the technology of the time cause problems for the patriots that could have been avoided with today’s technology?

15.  What formalities of war existed during Revolutionary times, and how does this differ from how wars are waged today?

16.  What wins a war? Number of troops? Talent? Leadership?

17.  Is it necessary for the enlisted to truly believe in the cause in order to win the war?

18.  Are there any parallels to be drawn between the American Revolution and our current military conflicts?

19.  Is it important for Americans to know the history of the Revolution? Why or why not?

20.  How do you think modern English citizens would feel about this book and its portrayal of their history?

21.  McCullough wrote this history as narrative nonfiction. Was he successful? Were you more interested or engaged reading this than you would have been with a more academic take on the subject?

22.  The author chose to focus on a single year: 1776. Was this adequate to tell a compelling and clear story? Do you feel like there are things you still want to know, background information you wish you’d had?

23.  After reading this, do you find it miraculous America gained its independence?

24. Do you think you would have joined the American cause or stayed loyal to England?

 

Other Resources
Radio interview: Author discusses researching and writing 1776
The Declaration of Independence at the Library of Congress
Images from the American Revolution
George Washington biography

 

If you liked 1776, try…
American Gospel by Jon Meacham
Hallowed Ground by James McPherson
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

American Gospel book cover    Hallowed Ground book coverTeam of Rivals book cover

 

 

 

 

 

By MPPL on June 25, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1798-1815 by Gordon S. Wood

Larry staff picks photoA readable, fascinating history of the early United States, Empire of Liberty describes political and social philosophies of the time and their effect on American society and events. Without directly saying so, the book makes it evident that the roots of current American thought can be traced back to that time, with often striking parallels.

By MPPL on June 24, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Larry, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Barb B.Worth’s The Midwife tells the fascinating story of her life as a midwife in 1950’s London. Set in the East End, where she worked with nuns from St. Raymond Nonnatus, Worth chronicles the rigorous drama and inspiring magic of birth. It’s a captivating memoir. After reading, watch the excellent television series it inspired.

By MPPL on June 10, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Barb B., Staff Picks

New: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Fiction Books

The Hollow Ground book cover The Possibilities book coverDebbie Doesn't Do It Anymore book cover

     –  The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett

     –  The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

     –  Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley

     –  Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

     –  Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy

     –  Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins

     –  To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

     –  The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison

New: Nonfiction Books

Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie book coverCreativity, Inc. book cover Little Demon in the City of Light book cover

     Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie by Ranya Tabari Idliby

     – Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

     –  Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston

     –  Cattitudes by Victoria Roberts

     –  Young Widower by John W. Evans

     –  The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

     –  Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller

     –  Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

By MPPL on May 30, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio book cover

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.

 

Title: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Author: Terry Ryan
Page Count: 351
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Family stories
Tone: Humorous, Heartwarming, Inspirational

 

1.  Much of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio takes place in the 1950s. What in particular demonstrates how people and/or attitudes were different during that time?

2.  There’s a popular saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Was there anything you read that you can relate to life today?

3.  If this book were written today, what would be different?

4.  How would you describe Evelyn as a “character”? What was her most admirable trait? What about her was not so admirable?

5.  Evelyn very much believed in destiny. How do you see this belief playing out in her life?

6.  What do you think of Kelly, Evelyn’s husband? Did you feel any sympathy for him?

7.  Why do you think Kelly started drinking?

8.  Would you label Kelly as abusive? Why or why not?

9.  The concept of domestic violence didn’t exist in the 1950s (though the act certainly did). How might Evelyn and Kelly’s relationship be received today, in light of our modern understanding of domestic violence?

10.  Why did Evelyn never leave Kelly? Should she have? Would she today?

11.  At one point in the book, Evelyn tells daughter Tuffy it would be a waste of time to stand up to Kelly. What does she mean by this? Do you agree?

12.  Do you think the author – Terry Ryan – was too tough in her portrayal of her father?

13.  This is a work of nonfiction. Do you think the author took any creative license when telling her family’s story?

14.  What do you think Ryan’s motivation was for writing this book?

15.  What might be different about the book if it were an autobiography written by Evelyn herself?

16.  How would you describe the tone of this book? Do you think the tone was appropriate for the topics discussed in the book?

17.  Evelyn was a religious woman, and she respected clergy as representatives of God. Do you think the clergy in her story deserved such high regard?

18.  There are several integral supporting characters in this story – particularly Aunt Lucy. What was her role in Evelyn’s life?

19.  What do you think would have happened to Evelyn and her family if she hadn’t discovered contests and used her writing talents?

20.  After Evelyn won the Dr. Pepper contest, the children knew “From then on . . . there could never be a problem bigger than Mom’s ability to solve it” (p. 334). What would it have felt like, growing up as a child in the Ryan household? How did Evelyn’s children view her?

21.  Evelyn wrote a letter to college admissions, intimately discussing her family’s troubles. Why did she do this? What does it reveal about the kind of woman she was?

22.  After Evelyn died, her children discovered she “had” to get married. How do you think a lack of options affected Evelyn, her marriage, and how she raised her children?

23.  What are your thoughts on Kelly’s “legacy of atonement” (i.e., $60,000)? Why didn’t Evelyn spend it?

24.  On her deathbed, Evelyn said of Defiance: “It was a nice place to be. A saving place” (p. 341). What do you think she meant by that? How do you see the town of Defiance, Ohio?

 

Other Resources
Q&A with author Terry “Tuffy” Ryan
Lit Lovers’ book discussion questions
Website dedicated to Evelyn’s life (includes photos and Evelyn’s notebooks)
Roger Ebert’s film review for The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Washington Post obituary for Terry Ryan

 

If you liked the Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, try…
Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley
The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan
Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

Losing Mum and Pup book cover    The Longest Trip Home book coverHalf Broke Horses book cover

 

 

 

 

 

By MPPL on May 28, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

Movies and TV: Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

Deceptive Practices DVD coverRicky Jay is a world famous magician and actor. The documentary Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay examines his rise as a renowned stage illusionist and the elder statesmen of magic that helped him on the way. A talk show regular in the ‘70s, Jay wowed audiences with sleight of hand and piercing watermelons with thrown playing cards, but Jay has come a long way. He has studied and owns thousands of books on magic. His performances are half illusions and half entertaining lessons on eccentrics, con men, and magicians through the last several centuries. Deceptive Practices will fill your evening with both history and wonder.

By Readers' Advisor on May 19, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Nonfiction

Edgar Allan Poe Awards 2014

The winners of the 2014 Edgar Awards have been announced, and thrills and chills fill these top picks from the Mystery Writers of America, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2013.

Ordinary Grace book cover

Red Sparrow book cover

Wicked Girls book cover    

Best NovelOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Best First Novel by an American AuthorRed Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Best Paperback Original:  The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Hour of Peril book coverOne Came Home book coverKetchup Clouds book cover


Best Fact Crime: 
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower
Best Juvenile:  One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Best Young Adult: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

   The Fall DVD cover

Cover of Snow book cover

Best Television Episode Teleplay:  The Fall, “Episode 1” — teleplay by Allan Cubitt
Simon & Schuster – Mary Higgins Clark Award:  Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on May 7, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Movies and TV, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

New: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Fiction Books

Bingo's Run book cover The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris book cover The Truth book cover

     –  Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine

     –  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

     –  The Truth by Michael Palin

     –  Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman

     –  Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman

     –  Mimi Malloy, At Last! by Julia MacDonnell

     –  Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

     –  The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

New: Nonfiction Books

The Artisan Soul book coverA Farm Dies Once a Year Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why book cover

     The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus

     –  A Farm Dies Once a Year by Arlo Crawford

     –  Ha!: The Science of When and Why We Laugh by Scott Weems

     –  DIY Dye by Loren Lankford

     –  Reproducing Racism by Daria Roithmayr

     –  Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change by Barbara Winslow

     –  I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia by Su Meck

     –  Neanderthal Man by Svante Pääbo

By MPPL on May 2, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction